Potlucks are one of the best forms of a social gathering. Friends, coworkers, or colleagues all get together and each share a homemade dish, a perfect opportunity to try a variety of food. It makes it even more special since everyone has put effort and love into making their dish, whether it be an old family recipe or their own. Growing up at home, my family and I would go to tons of family friends’ houses for potluck gatherings so it’s nice having them 0nce in a while at school.
This past weekend, our Spoon University members had our first potluck. Once all the dishes were arranged on a table, we all stood around ooh-ing and ahh-ing, taking photos and strategically planning which foods we wanted to try first. There was a nice balance of savory and sweet – pulled pork sliders, honey glazed meatballs, alongside apple crumble, pumpkin donuts, mini oreo pies and much, much more. We were all feasting with our eyes and by the time we were done eating, we were all slipping into food comas.
My contribution to the potluck was a butternut squash and caramelized onion flatbread, a dish that I think is a potluck staple. It can be cut up into small bite-sized pieces to eat with your hands and it is mess-free. I had bought almost all of the ingredients earlier that day at the farmer’s market, including homemade dough. I was originally going to buy pre-made pizza crust from the store but the pizza vendor at the market gave me 2 homemade rolls of dough for $2! Another reason to love farmers’ markets
- 1/2 butternut squash, cubed
- 1/2 large white onion
- 1 pre-made pizza crust or 2 small rolls of homemade dough
- 2 tbsp fresh sage, cut into strips
- 1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Peel squash and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 45 minutes.
- Thinly slice half an onion. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil on low heat and add onions. Stir periodically for 30-40 minutes, until caramelized.
- When squash and onions are finished cooking, put onto the crust. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake for about 20 minutes, until crust is brown.
- While flatbread is baking, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a small pan and lightly saute sage leaves.
- When the flatbread is finished baking, top with the sage leaves.
I don’t think Autumn gets as much credit as it deserves. Watching all the trees turn colors day by day while walking through campus is incredible. Even though the weather is getting chillier, the scenery is spectacular and for a moment, distracts me from the impending colder, darker days. There’s this one particular tree that I frequently pass by that is bright red; it’s color is so intense it’s hard to look away.
The Greek Yogurt Pancakes from a couple weeks back were such a big hit that I had to make pancakes again! This time I used up the rest of my can of pumpkin puree for a little bit of fall flavor (and color). These pancakes are fluffy and delicious, while also requiring very little effort.
Pancakes aren’t exactly the healthiest breakfast, but I made them healthier by substituting some of the flour with whole wheat flour. The texture is a bit rougher but I like it! Feel free to add some chopped nuts like I did.
EASY PUMPKIN PANCAKES
(makes about 6)
1 3/4 cup milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons pumpkin spice mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, combine the milk, pumpkin puree, egg and oil.
In another large bowl, stir the flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin spice mix and salt until well blended.
Slowly add the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture until just blended; try not to over mix the batter.
Heat a pan over low-medium heat. Add about a ¼ cup of batter for one pancake onto the griddle. Brown on both sides and serve hot with maple syrup.
Until this year, I have been completely oblivious to the craze for pumpkin recipes in Autumn. Have I been hiding under a rock or something?! Suddenly this year, I see pumpkin everywhere. The most pumpkin I’ve had was traditional pumpkin pie which was why I was blown away by all the different foods you can put pumpkin in. I wanted to make a pumpkin recipe so what better food to put pumpkin in than…muffins.
It was a perfect opportunity to test out my brand new toaster oven muffin tin! If you had told me in the beginning of the year that I could make muffins in a toaster oven, I would have laughed and totally dismiss that idea. Toaster ovens have not been known to be the best method for baking since the temperature is very variable. I guess I’m either super lucky or have a magical toaster oven because my muffins came out great!
These pumpkin chocolate chip muffins were very moist and had a subtle pumpkin flavor. I was more than pleasantly surprised. What’s even better than successful muffins is successful healthy muffins. These were made using whole-wheat flour and Greek yogurt. Pumpkins are awesome because they are rich in fiber, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins A, C, and E.
As my suitemates can probably tell you, I was so excited that these muffins came out well and I’ll definitely be making more muffins in the future.
HEALTHY PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1 large egg
1/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt (Chobani)
1/2 can pure pumpkin puree
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Line 6 muffin cups with paper liners and spray with nonstick spray.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and yogurt. Add the pumpkin puree and the oil, whisking to combine.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Batter will be thick.
Fold in chocolate chips.
For the topping, mix sugar with cinnamon. Spoon batter into muffin tin, filling each cup to the top. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Bake in toaster oven at 300 degrees F for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in one of the muffins comes out clean. Cool in pan a few minutes, then on a wire rack. If baking in a regular oven, you should bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.